News / Africa

A Better World for Women and Girls

Phul Kumari, 25, stands with her child in a village community center in Baghpat district, in India's northern state of Uttar Pradesh October 18, 2011. Kumari  was trafficked to Uttar Pradesh as a bride for her husband and has been repeatedly raped by his
Phul Kumari, 25, stands with her child in a village community center in Baghpat district, in India's northern state of Uttar Pradesh October 18, 2011. Kumari was trafficked to Uttar Pradesh as a bride for her husband and has been repeatedly raped by his
Joe DeCapua

A British Medical Journal editorial calls for a moral and political movement to end violence and oppression against women and girls. It says about one billion women worldwide have been beaten, coerced into having sex or otherwise abused.

The BMJ editorial describes oppression against women and girls as a great injustice that is insidious, systematic and widespread.

“We’ve been documenting the problem of violence against women and other abuse and neglect of women in the context of childbirth, etc. There are many programs, campaigns, policies, laws, conventions, treaties that have been devised to eliminate them. There’s been progress in that regard and yet it’s still a global pandemic – the oppression of women and girls,” said coauthor Janice Du Mont.

Du Mont is a scientist at the Women’s College Research Institute in Toronto and an associate professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. She co-wrote the editorial with Associate Professor of Sociology Deborah White of Trent University in Peterborough, Canada.

Basic rights

The editorial says gendered violence, avoidable complications of pregnancy and childbirth are infringements of basic human rights and freedoms.

“When you think about violence against women, for example, and girls, I mean it’s an issue that touches everyone’s lives. You have sisters, mothers, friends, etcetera that have experienced abuse or will experience abuse in the future. So it is a problem relevant to everyone in all countries. This cuts right across boundaries like geography, wealth, culture,” Du mont said.

The British Medical Journal approached the two women to write the editorial as a follow-up to a 2009 book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. It was co-written by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Sheryl WuDunn.

Professor Du Mont says women around the world face many risks.

“The number one consequence of abuse and neglect is just death, period. And I know from surveys worldwide that it’s estimated, for example, that approximately 40 to 70 percent of homicides of women are committed by intimate partners. These are in the context of abusive relationships. So one type of violence against women. Also, both abuse and neglect and pregnancy, etcetera, not having access to proper services, obviously leads to injury and permanent disability,” she said.

She said there are also risks of depression, suicide and chronic diseases. Du Mont says in 2008 there were nearly 360,000 maternal deaths reported worldwide – almost all in developing countries. And then there’s human trafficking, with the vast majority of the 800,000 people trafficked annually being women and girls.

Everyone’s responsibility

I think it really is the courage of women and women activists that first brought this to light – violence against women and girls – as a really shameful human rights violation and really even as a pernicious and pervasive public health problem. But it should not be up to women to end violence against women. And they can’t always be agents of change responsible for their own emancipation. There’s a lot of risk involved in that. As neighborhoods, communities, countries, societies in general we have to care about our women and girls. And it has to be on all of our agendas,” she said.

Gender inequality, she said, is a driving force behind abuse. She says those who harm women must be held accountable, adding men and boys must be fully engaged in promoting equality and preventing violence.

Du Mont said change requires political will based on a collective resolve across the globe.

You May Like

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid